Taxify takes off in BCM
Three months down the lane, ride-hailing service ‘exceeded expectations’
In its first three months ride-hailing service Taxify has “exceeded expectations” in East London.
This is according to Taxify country manager Gareth Taylor, who this week revealed that the company was now recruiting more drivers to meet the growing need in the city.
Such is the demand for the service that some drivers are even relocating from other parts of the country to be based permanently in East London.
Taxify was launched in East London at the end of October, a year after it set up shop in Port Elizabeth – the company’s first foray into the Eastern Cape.
“It is clear that the people of East London are very happy to have the service,” Taylor told the Dispatch on Tuesday.
“I think there has been a perception that East London has been neglected compared to other centres, but East London is very much a growing [metropolitan] area.
“I think people had used the service before but when they came to East London they couldn’t find it.
“But now it’s here.”
While Taylor did not wish to disclose how many drivers were currently registered in East London, he was not surprised that people were relocating to earn a living through Taxify.
“With more people being at home in December, more people were using the service.
“Because drivers are independent contractors from whom we take a commission, they have the ability to relocate to wherever the demand is higher.”
As Taxify does not record data on LSMs (Living Standards Measure), he could not say which income groups were most inclined to catch rides.
“There are a number of factors why residents are using us. The first is that transport is the second biggest household expense.
“We all need to get around. South Africans love pay-as-you-go services, so Taxify suits them in this respect.
“Then there is the convenience factor, with people not having to look for parking when they arrive at a destination.
“Another reason is that if people don’t have the best credit records, it can be difficult for them to access financing for a car. So now they have someone who can drive them around.
“I think all these factors are combining to make Taxify popular in East London.”
Driver Mane Mgudlwa joined Taxify in November, having left the retail industry a month earlier.
“I’ve been busy every day, doing back-to-back trips. Taxify is definitely something East London has been waiting for,” Mgudlwa said.
“I think it’s popular because people used to take two taxi trips from one place to another. Now they can be taken home.”
Clients summoned him from all parts of East London, he added.
“I have passengers from the townships, the suburbs, working people, even older people who have been referred by their children and grandchildren. Business people from out of town are also excited about it, because they are used to having Taxify in their own cities.”
Mgudlwa has also noticed drivers coming from other parts of the country to work in East London.
“They’ve recognised a good business opportunity in East London.”
Fellow driver Lizo Rola had noticed the same trend.
“There are guys coming from PE and Cape Town. In December especially there were a lot of them,” he said.
Though he had not had as many clients as he did over the festive season, Rola was still busy.
He drives Taxify at night after a day as an office worker.
“I do a lot of trips for people shopping for groceries or going to nightclubs. A lot of trips in the CBD and Gonubie.”
He said during peak season he could cover his overheads easily, although when it was slower it was more difficult to pay for vehicle insurance and maintenance services.
“One thing I do think Taxify needs to take a look at are cases where people cancel at the last minute.
“ Say you drive all the way to Amalinda to pick up a client, and then just when you’re around the corner the client cancels a trip.
“That costs you money.”..